Thursday 9/22, 7pm
Alexander Maksik discusses his new novel Shelter in Place
From the New York Times bestselling author of You Deserve Nothing, Shelter in Place is a stylish literary novel about the hereditary nature of mental illness, the fleeting intensity of youth, the obligations of family, and the consequences of all-consuming love. Set in California and the Pacific Northwest in the jittery, jacked-up early 90s, it tells the story of Joseph March, a twenty-one-year-old working class kid from Seattle. Joe is on top of the world. He has just graduated college, his future beckons, unencumbered, and magnificent. But his life implodes when he starts to suffer the symptoms of severe bipolar disorder, and, shortly after, his mother kills a man she's never met with a hammer.
Joe moves to White Pine, Oregon, where his mother is in jail and his father has set up house to be near her. He is joined by Tess Wolff, a fiercely independent woman with whom he has fallen passionately in love. The lives of Joe, Tess, and Joe's father fall into the slow rhythm of daily prison visits and beer and pizza at a local bar. Meanwhile, Anne-Marie March, Joe's mother, is gradually becoming a local heroine as many begin to see her crime as a furious, exasperated act of righteous rebellion. Tess, too, has fallen under her spell. Spurred on by Anne-Marie's example, Tess enlists Joe in a secret, violent plan that will forever change their lives.
With an eerie magnetism, a feel for the battered spirit of modern America, and characters as relatable and memorable as John Green's Miles and Alaska (Looking for Alaska), Shelter in Place will appeal to readers of Richard Russo, Lauren Groff, and Dennis Johnson.
Alexander Maksik is the author of the novels You Deserve Nothing and A Marker to Measure Drift, which was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2013, as well as finalist for both the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and Le Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger. His writing has appeared in The Pushcart Prize Anthology, Harper's, Tin House, The New York Times Magazine, and The Atlantic. He is a contributing editor at Condé Nast Traveler.